Vol. 2, Issue 14, April 6, 2004
Murdoch Hands Media Empire to American Amphibian
News Corporation, the media group led by Rupert Murdoch, is to move its primary stock market listing from Australia to the U.S. and will give the post of CEO to a frog.
The group on Tuesday predicted the re-organisation would significantly improve its access to capital markets, helping it to raise funds on more attractive terms, and that appointment of the American amphibian would enhance the corporation's credibility.
"We have nothing major in sight at all beyond the smooth transfer to our new American home," Murdoch told the Financial Times. "And we hope to hire more native American species, God help us."
The decision to elevate a Pacific Treefrog to the top post has analysts somewhat mystified.
"He's either a complete genius, or he's off his nut," said UC Berkeley economics professor G. Scott Harper. "Although I cannot help but think that a frog would indeed be a step up for the management of this corporation."
The frog, which goes by the name of "Frankie" and currently resides in an undisclosed private residence in Boulder, made headlines in 2002 when it ran for mayor, earning several thousand votes in a surprising display of strength against the otherwise unchallenged incumbent.
Murdoch is often accused of running partisan media coverage for political parties that promote policies and decisions which favor his commercial interests. Some speculate that the frog may be just a figurehead designed to allay suspicions in the American public. Murdoch insisted the re-organisation would not reduce the company's commitment to media assets in Australia, though some were not convinced.
"We've got our own bloody frogs," said Harvey Dent, Australian MP. "The woods are positively crawling with northern red-eyed tree frogs, striped marsh frogs, northern barred frogs, you name it. Why is he bothering to pick up shop and hand the whole outfit over to some kid's pet in Colorado?"
Frankie was unavailable for comment, but media reports have surfaced that he once auditioned as mascot for the WB network, giving some possible indications of policy directions a Frankie-led News Corporation might take.
Murdoch assured investors that the decision was the right move for his corporation.
"We will continue to build, maintain and expand every one of our Australian businesses," he said as he brought in food catered for the reporters. "The re-organisation we propose does not prejudice the future growth of our Australian operations, nor does it cost a single Australian job for frogs. Now, who'd like some of these delicious cuisses de grenouille?"